Motion Picture Design

William Sandell (Production Designer) received high praise for his contributions to the sci-fi hit “Robo-Cop,” directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 1989 he re-teamed with Verhoeven on the blockbuster sci-fi thriller “Total Recall” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Originally an artist who created kinetic sculptures, Sandell, who is based in Los Angeles, was encouraged by his friends to transfer his talents to the film business. His first credit was an art department assistant on Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” (1973). He assisted the art department in various capacities on a number of Roger Corman-produced films, before becoming art director on Jonathan Demme’s “Fighting Mad” in 1975.
Since then, as a production designer he has contributed to the look of Anthony Page’s “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” (977), Gilbert Cates’ “The Promise” (1979), Bill Persky’s “Serial” (1980), Jeffrey Bloom’s “Blood Beach” (1981), Ken Finkleman’s “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982), Art Linson’s “The Wild Life” (1984) and Joel Schumacher’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985).
In 1988 Sandell teamed up with “Airplane”‘s Jim Abrahams for Touchstone Pictures’ “Big Buisness” Starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. He then worked on Warner Brothers’ big budget comedy “Nothing But Trouble” starring Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore and John Candy.
William then teamed with director, choreographer Kenny Ortega for Disney’s turn of the century musical, “Newsies.” In 1992, again working with Kenny Ortega and Disney, Sandell earned high praise for his highly stylized sets for Bette Midler’s “Hocus Pocus”.
Moving on to Spielberg’s Amblin Pictures in ’93 the Production Designer pulled out all the stops for Universal’s blockbuster “Flintstones.”
Back at Warner’s in ’94, Sandell completed work on director Wolfgang Petersen’s biological action-thriller “Outbreak” Starring Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman.
Staying at Warner’s, he designed the sets for the Steven Segal action film “The Glimmer Man.” Back to Amblin for Joe Dante’s well received “Small Soldiers.” Then to Sony for Wolfgang Petersen’s film “Air Force One.” Soon after came the film “The Perfect Storm,” at Warner’s, again with Wolfgang Petersen. Then it was off to Fox Studios in Rosarita Beach for Renny Harlin’s hit summer film, “Deep Blue Sea.”
He was then back at Fox Studios for “Dr. Dolittle II” and a small film, “The First 20 Million,” from the best selling book.
Then the call from Peter Weir, for “Master and Commander.” Sandell’s design work led to an Academy Award nomination and won the British Academy Award for design. After “Master and Commander” Sandell left for Vancouver to design the John Woo film “Paycheck” staring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.
It was then back to Warner Brother’s for Wolfgang Petersen’s big budget remake of “The Poseidon Adventure,” filling Warner’s soundstages with some of the largest sets ever designed.
After a year of working on “Poseidon” Sandell was tapped for Lee Tamahori’s action picture, “Next” starring Nicholas Cage.
More films, including Dreamworks “Hotel for Dogs” which showcased Sandell’s fantasy mechanical designs, some TV pilots and lately rest. For the past 5 years he’s been getting back to his early artistic roots, living happily in downtown Los Angeles at his loft at the Brewery Artist colony, designing and building his kinetic sculptures.